Several mornings a week, I try to get out and ride my bike early, before my day begins. I have a route that loops out away from our house, and rolls through some hills and valleys, and finishes back at the house 25 miles later. I’ve found that I tend to like to ride it the same direction each time, in fact I’ve only rode it in one direction all summer. I know where the hills are, where to pick up my pace, where to watch for dogs, and where the temperature will drop as I go through a valley by a stream. It’s really a great ride.
Today, I decided to ride it backwards. Now, I know that according to basic 7th grade science, and an elementary understanding of geography, that when I ride in a loop, any amount of distance that I descend, I will have to climb. I also know that regardless of which direction I ride on that loop, I will climb and descend the exact same distance. But I gotta tell you, it felt like all I did was climb today. It was crazy. I don’t know how it’s possible, but somewhere on that route, I must have passed through a wormhole in the time/space continuum that allowed me to climb 80% more than I descended on that loop. It was nuts!
I also was laughing along the way, because I was noticing things I had never seen before. This is a route I’ve ridden dozens of times this summer, and I was seeing things for the first time today. Little things, like, you know,…a house….a barn….small stuff like that. It was so amusing to me just because I couldn’t believe I had missed so much before, just because I was going in one direction. Then today, when I turned and went the other way, everything looked and felt different. Same places, same roads, same farms, but it all looked and felt totally different.
It kind of hit me as I was riding, that is what repentance is like. God calls us to repent, and follow Him. When we repent, it means we turn 180 degrees and go the other way. So, when we are lying, we stop lying and start telling the truth. When we are angry in a selfish way, we quit and begin showing love selflessly. If we find ourselves trying to control our lives ourselves, we turn and begin to live by faith and trust God where we can’t see Him. Repentance is a simple thing.
I think that so often we find ourselves far down a bad road in our lives, where we’ve made horrible decisions, been selfish, faithless, and just plain sinful; we convince ourselves that we need to uproot and start over in a completely new place. The only answer is to dump our friends, our location, our life and run away and start over. That is usually due more to being embarrassed than it is to wisdom. God calls us to repent, to run the course backwards, to climb where we had coasted before, and to trust Him where we had tried to climb on our own and failed.
What is amazing in life as we repent, is that we travel the same paths we always do, interact with the same people, face the same challenges, yet it all looks and feels different. Repentance makes all things new. It’s pretty cool how God can do that. We don’t need to change the location of where we live out our faith to get a new start. We just need to repent, and go back the way we came.
It’s a life changer.
What is that you need to repent of today?